The diversity of the presentations this past week was astonishing. From a discussion of a cult and freedom, to the strict aspects of women who choose a life of Orthodox Judaism, the experiences varied. While all the presentations this week were interesting, two stuck out to me: Traditions in a Rootless World and Reinventing American Protestantism. I think they interested me more because of the opposite experience individuals were seeking for their religious life. For the women who chose to be Orthodox Jews, they lived strict lives with guided rules and structure. Their traditions consisted on following concrete rules which in a very specific way. On the other hand, Reinventing America Protestantism focused on the idea of a casual experience with God and your religious practices. While both can be considered to be based on more conservative ideals, the experience of these ideals vary.
One question that the group on the Paradigm Church proposed to the class was “do you think the popularity of the mega church will lead to the extinction of the type of churches and religious institution that have come before it?” This question stuck out to me because I think this trend has always been a part of religion. There has not been a time where a church or another community has come from another and gained more popularity than the more traditional counterpart. However, early churches such as the Eastern Orthodox or Jewish traditions such as Orthodox Judaism are still in existence. It is obvious that the numbers in America differ between the mega churches and more traditional, but that is religious freedom. Each person is seeking something different and we have the ability to search for what we are most attracted to. In my opinion the paradigm churches are very unattractive. I don’t want it to be as “relatable” as social media or other things. I want to church to feel like it is other worldly, but I might be the only one. The beauty of having a choice is being able to do what you think is best.